Moving a bathroom can be a tricky task, and here we will share two major considerations for anyone considering this renovation project.
Your bathroom has a network of pipes that must be interconnected according to the right diameter, shape and slope. It is this system of pipes – combined with the thickness of any tile and the location of vertical ducts – that can prevent homeowners from moving a bathroom from one area of the house to another.
Keep in mind these major changes that are required when relocating a bathroom:
- Construction of a new plumbing system
- Removing the old flooring
- Creating a step or a threshold for the bath
- Installation of new floor and wall tiles
- Adding new faucets, fixtures, a bathtub/shower and cabinets
Before starting your renovation, find out the cost of renovating your bathroom with our free cost estimator. The video below will guide you through the steps.
Important consideration #1: Your downpipe
The downpipe allows for the proper evacuation of wastewater. All bathroom fittings are connected to this downpipe by horizontal pipes, which must be placed with a slight downward slope, so nothing gets stalled within the pipe, potentially blocking the sewerage system. Since the toilet produces the most wastewater, its horizontal pipe should have the most prominent slope.
In the best-case scenario, new fixtures are easily connected to this pipe (which will not eat into your renovation budget). Introducing multi-level systems (second stories and basements) or additional fixtures could force you to start ripping out walls and ceilings just to get to the downpipe. If you are planning on using premium fixtures or custom trims, this simple problem could turn into a costly expense.
If you want to move a bathroom, you need to determine the location of your downpipe and analyze if it is possible to create a new network of sloping horizontal pipes from the new location to the downspout.
Important consideration #2: Height of the bathroom fittings
The higher the fitting is placed, the longer the horizontal pipes can travel without breaking through the floor. “Height” is used not only in terms of the actual height but also for the distance from the downspout to each fitting. The toilet should be placed closest to the downpipe, followed by the shower, the bathtub, and the sink — in this very particular order.
When you are designing a new location, you should keep this bathroom layout in mind and determine if it is applicable to the space you have available.
Other considerations when relocating a bathroom
Once you have assessed the downpipe and the “height,” you will be better able to determine if you can, in fact, relocate the bathroom to the other side of the house. Other factors to consider are the costs of doing so and whether local zoning regulations will allow the move.
Moving a bathroom in an apartment vs a house
The possibility of certain changes will depend on what type of dwelling you are renovating. Moving a bathroom in an apartment is not the same as moving one in a house. In an apartment, the downspout is shared with neighbors so relocating a bathroom will be a little more complicated. In a single family house, this kind of project tends to be easier because you can change pipes, downspouts and other facilities without disturbing anyone, though that would require a fairly large budget.
Changing the location of a bathroom depends on many factors and it’s important to analyze each factor separately:
- “Height” (as described above)
- Distance from the downpipe
- Water pressure
- Distribution of pipes, fixtures, walls, etc.
When buying a home, especially an older one, it’s a good idea to bring a licensed professional to advise you if this kind of renovation is possible. He or she can also advise you whether it will be easy to do and what the cost might be.
Many renovations around the house can be considered “DIY” projects. For major bathroom work, with its complexity of plumbing configurations, hiring a professional is a smart move and definitely worth the money.
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